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This may be complete hearsay, but I read online somewhere that you can do minor prospecting within 100 feet of any bridge in CA, as no claims are permitted. I'm assuming this is state road bridges over waterways. Anyone heard of this? 

I'd just be panning and detecting. 


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That is a myth.

The States don't control where claims can be made. Claims are made on Federally managed property owned by the United States of America.

Claims are made for subsurface mineral rights. Bridges are constructed on a surface right of way - two different things. Surface owners, permittees or lesees, like bridges and roads, do not prevent or modify the rights of the subsurface mineral owners (including mining claims) in any way except prior existing surface structures have a right of support.

If you mine where there are surface structures like buildings, roads and bridges you must do so without disturbing the surface support for those structures.

Dig around the footings of a bridge or the roadbed and you could be violating the surface users right to support. Otherwise roads and bridges don't have any effect on where a mining claim can be located or mining can take place. If the land is unappropriated public land open to location that is mineral in character and you discover a valuable mineral deposit it is yours to mine as long as you don't infringe on another right - including the right to surface support for roads and bridges.

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Not sure that applies to States Right of Ways.  The lands may not be Federally Controlled.   Rail Way Rights of way are as good as Private Property. They even maintain there own law enforcement .  https://www.up.com/aboutup/community/safety/special_agents/index.htm

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Railways are a combination of private property by grants of Congress and right of way easements. They are not public lands open to location. When the railroad is abandoned the right of way is subject to inverse condemnation by the U.S. but the granted private land is not. Apples and Oranges.

States rarely own the land a roadway is on. The road Right of Way is an affirmative easement over the surface of the land. What you are describing would be a negative easement. I doubt any State has ever used a negative easement for a Right of Way although it might be a possibility on private land but never on public lands of the United States. The Right of Way gives the State a right to surface support just like any other owner of a surface right.

If the State Right of Way passes over private lands there may have been a higher level of surface right obtained by negotiation or condemnation but those lands are not open to prospecting or mining claim location anyway.

Even State owned lands are subservient to the subsurface mineral ownership. Subsurface mining rights whether they be on private, State or public lands have no fewer rights than surface owners and users and often have superior rights to surface owners and users, Here's a short paper (PDF) that gives some examples how and why this is and always has been even before the United States existed as a nation.

The public lands of the United States can not be taken by condemnation or eminent domain taking by a State so those exceptions don't apply to the right of way over public lands. The Right of Way is an easement that does not preclude other subsurface uses of the same land including mining

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Adjacent and "sub adjacent" are the key words as usual descriptions now differ from agency to agency, even state to state and even highway system status. Every simple thing is now convoluted. Case in point. Railroad along the Sacramento rive above lakehead we were dredging. Came back to truck and wow a railroad ticket for being too close. Got the law copied from our law library and went to court as law state 50' from the center of the tracks. Our pics taken to court showed 82' with a tape measure. When law told to judge he had a fit and said he KNEW the law and we had to come closer to the tracks to get there. I politely asked the judge where we parked as not represented on the ticket. He blew his top, offered me a week in jail on contempt  and fined Blackbone over $650.......right or wrong in redneck country 'purt near anything can happen even when your 100% in the right now??? sic sic sic convoluted world. same same L Brothers dredging a creek here there are 3 of...fined up the wazoo even though open all year but judge said wrong creek even though marked on a map as such. When pointed out again ....contempt was again brought to bear. Must have deep pockets and time to fight over/over/over/over...look st Rinehart case as perfect example even in State Supreme Court no justice as miners head to Yosemite valley with dynamite to blow it all up-environutz argument accepted as fact in SC sic sic sic -John 

Edited by Hoser John
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